USA (MNN) — Since the Paris attacks, many United States governors are refusing to allow refugees into their states. Fear for security drives them to this decision. But should it?
After all, the process for refugees coming into the United States is different than the one in France. In fact, in the U.S. it’s long and complex.
Kristine Van Noord with Bethany Christian Services explains, “Refugees are the most thoroughly-vetted people to come to the United States–undergoing inter-agency screenings by the department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense, and multiple intelligence agencies including biometric checks, forensic document testing, medical tests, and in-person interviews. It’s an extremely thorough process.”
Every refugee goes through this process. And with such an intense process, why should anyone fear admitting refugees into the USA? Maybe it’s because of stereotypes accompanying refugees.
Believe it or not, these stereotypes are probably wrong.
“Refugees are people who have been persecuted. They are fleeing war and other events.They desperately need our help…. They are truly victims here and desperately need a new place to be able to start a hope and a future,” says Van Noord.
When refugees flee to the United States, most often it’s because they are unable to live in the first country they fled to. They were told they’re not welcome and were left homeless in unfamiliar lands.
Can you imagine being homeless in a strange country? Having no home? Being hated by people who don’t even know you?
Jesus knew. He was a refugee at one point, too.
“Christ’s love does compel us. All throughout the Bible you see stories of refugees…. All throughout the Bible we see this mandate to care for the orphan and the widow and the stranger…. This is an incredible opportunity for us to welcome refugees as Christ asked us to,” says Van Noord.
So open your heart to the hurting, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. If you do, Bethany Christian can help. They have many opportunities for both individuals and churches to get involved.
Another way to get involved is to advocate for the refugees. Be a voice for the voiceless. “I would strongly encourage people to consider contacting congress and their governor to encourage them to continue to welcome refugees,” urges Van Noord.
In the meantime, please pray for refugees, for their safety, their families, and for the work of the Gospel in their lives.
To learn more about opportunities at Bethany Christian, click here.
To donate, click here.